Category Archives: optimal sleep

Sleep Health Education in Seattle

Talking with people about sleep health, giving them the facts, and the knowledge of how to promote healthy sleep for themselves and their families, is one of the things I love to do.  Just last week we put excerpts from a recent PTA talk on YouTube.  You can view it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syxCF12fWdM.  Watch it and let me know what you think!

The calendar for 2010 is growing, please let me know if you’d like me to come talk to your PTA, civic group, or corporation.  Here’s a sample of what’s going on so far.

“Optimizing Work Performance – The Sleep Connection”

Vulcan Inc.
January 26, 2010, 12:30-1:30pm
Open to employees

Join Dr. Darley to learn about how good sleep health can improve your job performance.   Objectives for this one hour “Lunch and Learn” are:

  • Understand the ways poor sleep interferes with mental, physical and emotional performance
  • Understand the most prevalent sleep disorders, including insufficient sleep
  • Learn ways to improve sleep

“Sleeping Like a Baby”

PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support)
Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
January 26, 2010, 6:30-8:00pm
Open to PEPS participants

Many new parents struggle to help their infant get into a regular sleep routine, and get enough sleep themselves.   Dr. Darley will discuss questions parents frequently ask about how to get their baby to sleep, the safety of co-sleeping, nap routines and sleep schedules.   There will be 30 minutes for questions and discussion after her presentation.

“Sleep and Mental Health: A Dynamic Interplay”

Continuing Education event for the Seattle Counselors Association (SCA)
February 19, 2010
Open to SCA members and visitors

Dr. Darley will discuss the dynamic interplay between sleep and mental health.   We’ll look in depth at a few conditions, including ADHD, anxiety, and depression.   The second half of the presentation will include screening questions for counselors to use in assessing whether sleep may be a contributing factor.   We’ll also discuss the effects of pharmaceuticals, over the counter medications, and supplements.   There will be ample time for questions and discussion.

“Sleep Well, and Succeed in School”

Loyal Height Elementary, Seattle Washington
April 29, 2010, 7:00p to 8:30p
Open to school parents

Many children have sleep problems, and their mood and performance suffers.   Come learn about common pediatric sleep problems, how they influence your child, and what you can do to ensure your child gets healthy sleep.

Join Dr. Catherine Darley, ND from The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine as she discusses:

  • normal sleep in children
  • the effects of insufficient sleep, the most common sleep problem
  • sleep disordered breathing in children
  • Learn steps to take at home to improve your child’s sleep

“Sleepy” vs. “Tired” vs. “Fatigued”

In our American culture, many words can be used interchangeably. This is even true of sleep words. Several years ago I had the honor of speaking at the annual Association of Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) meeting on the language of sleep medicine for the trainees. We looked at the different meanings of “sleepy” vs. “tired” vs. “fatigued.”

“Sleepy” means the propensity to actually fall asleep. Whereas “tired” is more about a feeling of reduced strength after exertion. “Fatigue” is a deep weariness or exhaustion.

Why do I bring this up on the blog? When you are thinking about your health, knowing whether you feel sleepy, vs tired or fatigued, will help you decide what kind of care to pursue.

Of course, if you are feeling sleepy, then a sleep specialist is a good place to start with.  Wednesday we’ll talk about medical conditions that can make you more sleepy.

To learn more about how you can sleep well using naturopathic sleep medicine, go to http://www.naturalsleepmedicine.net/

Optimal Sleep

The Most Common Sleep Problem

Once again, in 2008, insufficient sleep was the most common sleep problem in America.   More than 47% of adults and 57% of children get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night.   This chronic partial sleep deprivation can have global health effects, some of which we’ve discussed in past newsletters.   Here are some of the effects:

    – appetite regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin are disordered, causing increased hunger, increased appetite for high caloric, high fat and simple carbohydrate foods, and weight gain
    – physical agility, coordination and reaction time are impaired, contributing to drowsy driving auto accidents
    – irritability and mood impairment increases
    – memory, concentration and creative problem solving are impaired

The Optimal Sleep Test

We’re raising awareness of insufficient sleep by sponsoring The Optimal Sleep Test.   Sleep optimization is done by researchers to determine how much sleep is ideal.   During sleep optimization participants spend much more time in bed and allow themselves to sleep as long as they can, and wake on their own without an alarm.   Participants will commonly sleep hours extra for the first couple weeks, and then their sleep will settle into a regular nightly amount.

To do The Optimal Sleep Test:
1. Start at the beginning of your weekend, and continue for at least 5 nights.
2. Set your bedtime close to your regular bedtime, maybe 30 minutes earlier.
3. Make your room as dark and quiet as possible, consider turning down phone ringers or other sounds that may disturb you.
4. Allow yourself to sleep as late as possible in the morning, waking without an alarm.
5. At the end evaluate the symptoms above and see how they’ve improved.

You may find that the added sleep benefits you to the point that it is worth having fewer active hours in exchange for feeling better during the time that you are awake!